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Holy Crap is Healthy Breakfast Cereal

Updated on February 6, 2013

Healthy Breakfast Cereal with Chia, Hemp and Buckwheat

When Corin Mullins of Gibson’s British Columbia found a way to help her husband Brian eat breakfast, she had no idea of how her family's solution might become a winning business that hits the pulse of the times. Brian Mullins has food allergies and sensitivities to many common foods, and doesn’t eat wheat, corn, or oats, the basis for most breakfast cereals.

It took experimenting with more than 20 combinations of other cereals before Corin found a combination of chia, hemp hearts and buckwheat that tasted good and was digestible.

How to Pick a Name for a Business

Corin and Brian Mullins started to produce their healthy breakfast cereal with $129 initial investment, and marketed it at the Farmer’s Markets in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver in the summer of 2009. At first they called it Hapi Food Cereal, but they soon recognized the opportunity to grab a livelier name. During that first summer, according to the company website, when one of the customers tasted it and responded with “Holy crap... this is amazing,” they changed the name. As the new name attracted food adventurers with its quirky, unconventional, humourous attitude, sales increased more than 1000% from 10 bags a day to over 100. Indeed, it was the name that motivated me to pick it up from the display bin in Save On foods, where half dozen of the green foil packs lay near the yogurt shelf. I grinned to myself, and thought, “Crap for breakfast? That's very bold. I’ll try this one, even at the hefty price tag.”

Where is the Sunshine Coast?

Gibsons, BC:
Gibsons, BC, Canada

get directions

Sechelt, BC:
Sechelt, BC, Canada

get directions

Vancouver, BC:
Vancouver, BC, Canada

get directions

The Winter Olympics 2010 Gave a Boost

The second milestone that grew the business was the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver in February 2010. Corin and Brian had a kiosk at Granville Island Market, and sold their cereal to visitors from all over the world. After the Olympics finished, online sales jumped from customers who were re-ordering once they returned home.

Holy Crap is Healthy Breakfast Cereal

This healthy breakfast cereal has chia, hulled hemp hearts, buckwheat, apples, cranberries and cinnamon,  The ingredients are all organic, and most are sourced in Canada.
This healthy breakfast cereal has chia, hulled hemp hearts, buckwheat, apples, cranberries and cinnamon, The ingredients are all organic, and most are sourced in Canada. | Source

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Chia Seeds: Food of Athletes

The Chia seeds were a staple food plant in the diet of the Taramuhara people of the Copper Canyon region in Mexico, who are some of the world's best runners.
The Chia seeds were a staple food plant in the diet of the Taramuhara people of the Copper Canyon region in Mexico, who are some of the world's best runners. | Source

Gluten Free Diet Foods

Gluten free diet foods are not always easy to find, so this one is definitely worth trying for its great taste as well as its health benefits. This is an excellent breakfast cereal for people with celiac disease, diabetes,high blood pressure, severe food allergies or food sensitivities.

It is organic, gluten free, lactose free, vegan, nut-free, sugar-free, salt-free and kosher. It’s a source of 16% of the recommended daily allowance of fibre and 10% of iron. Its main ingredient is chia, a plant in the mint family that is native to Mexico and Central America, where it has been cultivated for centuries as a food crop and source of vegetable oil rich in omega-3 fats. Chia seeds are reputed to give energy and provide a beneficial source of dietary fat, although, as Globe and Mail writer Carly Weeks points out in an April, 2012 article, research is still inconclusive as to whether the ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) form of omega-3 found in chia and other plants is as beneficial as the long-chain fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish like salmon.

Above all, Holy Crap organic cereal tastes good, spicy with cinnamon and the tang of organic raisins and cranberries, while hulled hemp hearts give it a nutty texture. It tastes great with a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt, which cuts the slightly gelatinous texture of first impression. I prefer oat granola or a nutritional shake for breakfast, but I don’t have dietary restrictions and allergies to limit my choices. An 8 ounce bag of Holy Crap Cereal costs approximately $10 and provides 8 servings, so this gluten free breakfast food costs just over $1 a serving.

The foil packs are airtight and resealable, making the product easy to travel with.
The foil packs are airtight and resealable, making the product easy to travel with. | Source

Nutrition Facts for Holy Crap Cereal

Holy Crap Cereal is a god source of iron and dietary fibre.
Holy Crap Cereal is a god source of iron and dietary fibre. | Source
This serving suggestion with plain yogurt and fruit is good.
This serving suggestion with plain yogurt and fruit is good. | Source

Appearance on Dragon's Den CBC Reality Entrepreneur TV Show

The company is based in British Columbia and got a big boost in November 2010, when its founders appeared on a CBC program called Dragons’ Den—the Canadian version of ABC’s Shark Tank. It has recently been introduced into main-stream grocery chains in Canada such as Save On Foods, where I bought my packet, and is being considered by US distributor Whole Foods who appreciate that it fits with top nutrition trends including gluten free, lactose free, vegan, kosher, and 100% organic.

After exposure on the Dragon’s den, their sales increased from 100 orders a month to 2,000 orders a day, and they have had a million dollars in sales since the episode aired. The following week they were shipping orders to New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil and more. They hired 8 staff to help them ramp up production, and even the local Post Office in their small community had to hire more employees to move the merchandise into the mail.

Dragons' Den CBC Reality Business Development Show

What Is the Healthiest Breakfast Cereal?

Once in the bowl, this healthy breakfast cereal is soaked in hot water for five minutes to soften the seeds.
Once in the bowl, this healthy breakfast cereal is soaked in hot water for five minutes to soften the seeds. | Source

What is the Healthiest Breakfast Cereal?

Holy Crap Cereal's main ingredients are chia seeds, hulled hemp hearts, and buckwheat. All three are recognized for their health benefits.

  • chia seeds are a source of fibre, protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese and omega-3 fat;
  • hulled hemp hearts provide protein, fibre, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids;
  • buckwheat is a rich source of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium fibre and copper and flavonids to reduce blood pressure, combat stress, and support the circulation system.

How To Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Here is a small company that has grown quickly in four years not only by taking risks, but also by approaching entrepreneurship with savvy.

  • It has a product that matches the market: organic, good taste, non-allergenic, long shelf life and nutritious with high fibre.
  • It has a quirky name that expresses (pun intended) the benefits of the high fibre diet.
  • It has optimized global e-commerce through its convenient online store.
  • It has taken full advantage of marketing opportunities offered by current events like Dragon’s Den reality TV, the Olympics, and the launch of the 2012 expedition to the International Space Station.

Take note.

International Space Station Facts

Holy Crap Cereal was selected to travel into space on the International Space Station because it:

  • has a long shelf-life
  • does not produce many crumbs
  • can be prepared on orbit using the ISS galley (water dispenser, convection oven)
  • can be easily consumed on orbit.

So while Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is living in space with the crew on the International space station during the December 2012-May 2013 Expedition 33/34/35, Holy Crap cereal is one of the breakfast and snack options.

It was selected as a winning product in a contest which invited people to submit suggestions about what would be good space menu choices, based on the criteria above.

Here are a few more interesting facts about the ISS:

  • The International Space Station is a live-aboard space station in low orbit around Earth.
  • Its purpose is to provide a microgravity and space environment research laboratory for experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, and meteorology.
  • It is a collaboration of five space agencies, including NASA, Russian Federal Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency, and Canadian Space Agency.
  • It orbits at a height of 370 km and a speed of 7.71 km/s.
  • It was launched on November 20, 1998
  • It cost150 billion USD

International Space Station Circles the Earth

Rate Holy Crap!

4.7 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of Holy Crap Cereal


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    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      sounds good. I was hoping for a recipe. I can probably make my own recipe based on the list of ingredients. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      3 years ago from California

      Holt Crap! I'll have to try this!

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 

      4 years ago from New York

      That actually looks pretty good and the nutritional content is rich, especially 16 grams of fiber. Big time fiber!

    • Kalmiya profile image


      5 years ago from North America

      Thanks for your report on this interesting cereal Janis. I saw it first on the show, Dragon's Den, where one of the dragons decided to promote it. The ingredients look amazing but even the recently reduced price of $9.99 for possibly two servings at a local grocer is kind of too high for me (well, until I win the lottery!).

    • quotations profile image

      Robert P 

      5 years ago from Canada

      The name is clever and attention getting, so when I saw it at my local Safeway I had to try it. It was a disappointment. Over 12 dollars for a little package that gives you maybe 1 1/2 decent portions. The taste was not bad, but not that great either and the fact that it was just a mass of small seeds meant that it did not fill me up at all. Plus it got soggy fairly quickly.

      I commend them on their marketing skills - without this attention getting name they would be just another obscure cereal on the shelf competing with better known brands, but unfortunately it does not deliver on the hype, in my opinion.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      What a name! But, you know, if that's what it takes to get a useful product going then that's what it takes. It is so difficult to introduce something new, and it doesn't matter how good it is, that an unusual name or advertising is necessary.

      This looks good - I'll have to see if I can find some locally or order from Amazon if not.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love the show Dragon's Den and I remember this one. I laughed like crazy when I saw this one because of the name Holy Crap :) These types of stories are great. It's so nice to see someone come up with an idea or product and have it grow into a successful business. Will have to see if I can find Holy Crap here somewhere in Ontario.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      I would love to taste this lively and healthy breakfast granola! What an honor to be chosen for meals in space! This is super. Can I find it at Safeway or Whole Foods? Right now I am buying the pumpkin seed granola and loving it.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Holy crap!!!!! what a GREAT story, what an amazing tale and what a wonderfully written chock full of stuff Hub!!!!!

      Tweeting, pinning, sharing and all the rest.

    • Ruchira profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      sure, I will try it with plain yogurt :) thanks!

    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      5 years ago

      I know, the name sounds like a joke. Have it with yogurt, though, unless you are lactose intolerant. Enjoy!

    • Ruchira profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      seriously, janis...holy crap is a

      I was surprised by its nutrients though...will look out for it in the local market :)


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